Jun 23

Promo: “Sindependence Day III: Stumbling Up to Boston”

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The Federation of Belligerent Writers Presents Sindependence Day III: Stumbling Up to Boston
Davis Square Theatre in Somerville
Saturday, July 16th
Doors at 9pm, 21+
$13.50 online, $15 at the door.

Promo by Gillian “Demoness Bixen” Daniels

(Somerville, MAThe Federation of Belligerent Writers is taking on Boston! Come party with us Saturday, July 16th, at 9pm, Davis Square Theatre in Somerville for our special event, Sindependence Day!

We’re a bracketed style, masked writing tournament. With one foot in improv and the other in mayhem, the initially luchador wrestling-inspired contest began as a mid-week open mic challenge at Ralph’s Rock Diner in Worcester.

It’s since grown to a weekend event with hundreds of fans.

The tournament is simple. During each round, two competitors take the stage, one in the red corner, the other in the blue. Three words are chosen at random by hosts Cassie Tai Tortorici as “Basic Bitch Becky,” a Starbucks-swilling, foul-mouthed stage manager, and Ethan White as “El Locutor Fabulso,” the allegedly-impartial verbal sparring partner to Becky, also known as “That Guy.” Continue reading

Jun 09

Cirque du Soleil’s “Kurios” Packed with the Usual Curiosities

Presented by Cirque du Soleil 
Written and directed by Michel Laprise
Director of creation – Chantal Tremblay
Compositions and music direction by Raphaël Beau
Compositions and arrangements by Guy Dubuc and Marc Lessard
Acrobatic choreography by Andrea Ziegler, Rob Bollinger, Yaman Okur, Ben Potvin, Sidi Larbi Cherkaoui, Susan Gaudreau, Germain Guillemot, Boris Verkhovsky, Danny Zen

May 26th (premier) – July 10th, 2016
Suffolk Downs
525 McClellan Highway
East Boston, MA 02128
Kurious on Facebook

Review by Gillian Daniels

(Suffolk Downs, Boston, MAKurios, unlike the other two Cirque du Soleil shows I’ve reviewed for The New England Theatre Geek, is tied to a world of technology and innovation. In 2012, Totem offered meditations on natural history, complete with frogs. Amaluna came to Boston in 2014 and involved a shipwreck on an island wild with magic, a loose adaptation of The Tempest. Kurios, though, is centered on 19th century trains, gramophones, laboratories, and aerial machines. Continue reading

Jun 01

Caravan Palace is Here for All Your Science Fictional Swing Dance Needs

Presented by WORLD MUSIC/CRASHarts
CARAVAN PALACE
Sunday, May 22, 8:00 pm
House of Blues Boston
15 Lansdowne St., Boston
World Music/CRASHarts on Facebook
Caravan Palace on Facebook

Review by Gillian Daniels

(Boston, MA) Caravan Palace came out strong the other night when it started its engagement at House of Blues with, “Comics.” The song, simultaneously upbeat and chilling, is a rhythmic single off of their latest album, <|°_°|> [Robot Face]. The energy brought the room up to a high that stayed there through the entirety of the show and two encores. Continue reading

May 24

Cirque du Soleil’s “Kurios”: Raising the Tent

Photo by Gillian Daniels

Photo by Gillian Daniels

Exposé by Gillian Daniels

(East Boston, MA) The day I watch the tent raised in Boston, the sky is blue and cloudless. The tent itself is partially up but looks like a deflated balloon. Men and women in hard hats stand around the interior circumference, speaking French Canadian-accented and Boston-tinged English. Continue reading

May 11

Caravan Palace, 5/22, House of Blues, Boston

Promo by Gillian Daniels

Want to see a time traveling big band Sunday, May 22nd at the House of Blues? Well, one isn’t playing there, but the closest thing to it is. Caravan Palace is an energetic, vibrant, French electro-swing monster. They’re strange, science fictional, and sensational.

Caravan Palace is my personal ear candy and has been since I first heard “Bambous” off their self-titled 2008 album. Their sound is cheerful and energizing, something that gets me up on hard mornings and cools me off after bad days. They’re the retro-future earworm I’ve longed for, the jitterbug robot brass band perfect for listening to on loop. Continue reading

Apr 19

Bedroom Games and War Crimes in Terrifying “Threesome”


Presented by Apollinaire Theatre Company
by Yussef El Guindi
Directed by Danielle Fauteux Jacques

April 8-May 7, 2016
Chelsea Theatre Works
189 Winnisimmet St., Chelsea.
Apollinaire on Facebook

Review by Gillian Daniels

(Chelsea, MA) Leila (Alison Meirowitz McCarthy) and Rashid (Mauro Canepa) are introduced to the audience in their pajamas as self-styled intellectuals, struggling to be distant from their emotions. They’re Egyptian-Americans who open the play conversing like an editorial on gender politics, feminism, and cultural differences. Then comes in Doug (Geoff Van Wyck), the photographer they have invited into their bedroom for a sexual adventure. He’s blunt, cheerful, and thoroughly naked. He is the chaotic element that opens them up to the insecurities that run deep through their relationship. His attitudes don’t represent some enlightened, Western view as a cure-all to their squeamishness, however. No, Doug has his own insecurities he’s bringing in, too. What begins as an adult comic drama ends as a dark exploration of the political and personal. Continue reading

Apr 19

Britten’s Opera is a “Dream”

Queen Tytania (Maya Kherani) and Bottom (Joseph Hubbard), Photo provided by BU School of Music

Queen Tytania (Maya Kherani) and Bottom (Joseph Hubbard), Photo provided by BU School of Music

Presented Boston University College of Fine Arts
Benjamin Britten, composer & Peter Pears, librettist
Based on the play by William Shakespeare
William Lumpkin, conductor
Tara Faircloth, stage director

April 14–17th, 2016
Boston University Theatre
264 Huntington Avenue, Boston
BU Arts on Facebook

Review by Gillian Daniels

(Boston, MA) I enjoy myself most with adaptations of Shakespeare’s comedies when their sense of fun and lightness remain intact. The direction in Boston University Theatre’s production of Benjamin Britten’s A Midsummer Night’s Dream didn’t fail me. This vision is every bit the dream of the title. Fairies wear blue wigs and polka dot suits, columns of giant, white flowers are moved across the stage, Puck (Elizabeth Valenti) brings Queen Tytania (Maya Kherani) her morning tea, and King Oberon (Wee-Kiat Chia) smugly points out his wife slept with an enchanted donkey-man (Joseph Hubbard) the night before. One scene flows into the next elegantly. For the most part, it’s a perfectly realized vision. Continue reading

Apr 08

“Dog Act” Has Bite

Presented by Theatre on Fire
By Liz Duffy Adams
Directed by Diego Arciniegas

April 1 – 23, 2016
Charlestown Working Theater
ToF on Facebook

Review by Gillian Daniels

(Charlestown, MA) Stories about the end of the world are often concerned with the survival of the individual against structures that have filled the void since the fabled downfall of society. This includes reality television death match enthusiasts (Suzanne Collin’s The Hunger Games), patriarchal cults with private harems (Mad Max: Fury Road), fight dome fans lead by Tina Turner (Mad Max: Beyond Thunderdome), and foul-mouthed, fur-wearing, belligerent tribes of wanderers. Dog Act looks not just at the individual, but the survival of art in a new North American wasteland. Continue reading

Mar 03

“Richard II”: Spoiled Man-Boy King Destroys Himself in Simple Production

ASP Richard II (l to r) Northumberland (Marya Lowry), King Richard II (Doug Lockwood), Bishop of Carlisle (Malcolm Ingram), Bolingbroke (Michael Forden Walker), and Henry Percy (Lewis D. Wheeler). Photo by Stratton McCrady

ASP Richard II (l to r) Northumberland (Marya Lowry), King Richard II (Doug Lockwood), Bishop of Carlisle (Malcolm Ingram), Bolingbroke (Michael Forden Walker), and Henry Percy (Lewis D. Wheeler). Photo by Stratton McCrady

Presented by Actors’ Shakespeare Project
Written by William Shakespeare
Directed by Allyn Burrows

Feb. 17-March 13, 2016
Cambridge YMCA
Cambridge, MA
ASP on Facebook

Review by Gillian Daniels

(Cambridge, MA) Richard II is not about a Danish prince languishing over a ghost’s warnings or an elderly king like Lear, mad with grief due to age and family strife. No, this is a story about the abuses of power and a complex man who both understands why he must give up his throne but is honest enough to admit to himself that he just really, really doesn’t want to. Continue reading

Feb 08

“Milk Like Sugar” Shuns Broad Strokes in Favor of Difficult Nuance

Presented by Huntington Theatre Company
Written by Kirsten Greenidge
Directed by M. Bevin O’Gara

Through Feb. 27, 2016
Calderwood Pavilion at the BCA
Boston, MA
Huntington on Facebook

Review by Gillian Daniels

(Boston, MA) All the individual ingredients of a melodrama are here. Annie (Jasmine Carmichael) and her sassy, “bad girl” teenage friends Talisha (Shazi Raja) and Margie (Carolina Sanchez), flirt with boys based on their brand of cell phone, drink, get tattoos, and have recently made a pact to all get pregnant within a week so they can raise their children together. I was nervous Milk Like Sugar would be a morality play, a story of “teen girl must do x or else she’ll fall under the sway of y!” I should have known better. Playwright Kirsten Greenidge already blew me away with Luck of the Irish and her hand here is similarly deft. Continue reading